Thursday, May 15, 2008

Social Security Number vs Taxpayer Indetification Number

The perversity of the nativist frenzy in Congress, as the NY Times illustrates editorially, is manifest in the way it has structured the tax rebates. Rather than routing it through the easier, less costly and more secure Taxpayer Identification Number of the Internal Revenue Service, it chose to do it the less efficient use of the Social Security number. Most undocumented workers have TIN but are suppose to have a SS number. Aside from the fact the this number is less reliable, as the argument against the E-verify program's use amply demonstrates, the SS number excludes many non-immigrants. So not only are the undocumented unworthy of the rebate, many elderly and poor who pay taxes, but do not have SS numbers, are as well. The Times correctly points out llittle harm, and some good, could be done by letting the rebate slip to the undocumented. They paid the taxes and are likely to spend the money quickly. Isn't the whole idea of a rebate to be a quick stimulus to out sagging economy? No one will spend that rebate where it counts faster than the poor, including the undocumented. But as the Times points out this nativist animus has spread to almost everything Congress does, and in the process deprives many non-immigrants of benefits. The E-verify program being push in the SAVE Act (Secure America through Verification enforcement) does this most egregiously..

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